Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Picky Eater, Picky Reader
Some of us are just picky eaters, and I think that connects to our reading tastes as well. I'm a picky reader (and eater). If it doesn't "taste good" to me, I'm not going to finish the meal (book). Even if I do finish it and it fills me up, I may still feel very unsatisfied. So the next time, I'm just going to order something else. I'm not going to kill the chef over it because he's probably going to be the one who makes my next meal, and I'll end up loving that meal and how it tastes. Same chef. Different meal.
So back to how books and food are similar. Some books I can't finish. It doesn't have the right ingredients for me, or the right combination of spices, or it was undercooked or overcooked. Just not for me while it could be the perfect meal for someone else. I'm not going to bash an author because I couldn't finish their book. It just wasn't for me, not my flavor of reading.
Now allow me to clarify "bashing". I've seen authors attacked over their books,to the point of it becoming bullying. All because a reader didn't like the book. And giving a book 1 star, without reading all of the book, I think is inappropriate and not fair. At least finish the book! And if you have the book so much, why did you even keep reading it in the first place?
"Bashing" does not include pointing out grammer and punctuation mistakes, not building up the characters enough, timeline discrepancies, over descriptive scenes that made you want to scream “get on with it already!" These things need to be pointed out so the writer can improve for the next book. "Bashing" is bullying in my dictionary.
There are so many books that I have put down and never finished but I don't bash them, I don't even review them. Is it the Author's fault that their writing and story telling isn't for me at that moment? Maybe if I read the book a year ago, or a month ago, I may have loved it. But I was a different person a month or even a year ago. Heck, I was a different person this morning compared to who I'll be tonight (Alice in Wonderland reference there). My reading tastes will differ every year, every month, every day. But to bash an author because their book wasn't your flavor? That's truly unfair to the author and the readers who happen to devour that type of book.
How can one truly review a book properly if it wasn't finished? If I can't finish your book, I promise you, I won't review it or bash it. I may comment in forums DNF (did not finish), but typically I'm the weird one and everyone else loved the book.
There is a very popular series that I just could not get through the first book to save my life. I tried. I really did. Everyone said how good it was. It's ratings on Amazon and Goodreads are practically 5 stars. I just couldn't finish it. It didn't grab me. I didn't connect with the characters. My personality during those hours of reading didn't work with the writing style and content. No one's at fault. It just wasn't a good match for me.
Every reader experiences books that don't taste well on their palates. Just like with food, I may crave pizza, but your may crave egg rolls. Different palates, different tastes, different people.
A great quote by Edmund Wilson to remember is, "No two persons ever read the same book". How very true.
So before you post that scathing book review, or speak badly in a book group or forum over a book you read. Please choose your words carefully. Sometimes saying nothing is the best review you can give a book. It just wasn't something you had been craving to eat that day. Maybe next time, the chef will make your taste buds explode and your eyes roll up into your head with ecstasy. It's happened to me. It will happen to you too.